A new survey right in the heart of silicon valley looked for antibodies for COVID-19 in over 3000 residents of Santa Clara County. What was found was that the infection was more widespread and less deadly than we believed.
What does that mean?
Well, with limited testing available in the beginning of this pandemic, county’s were only testing those that were sick with moderate to severe symptoms. This doesn’t give us the true picture of the prevalence of the disease since over 80% of people had mild or no symptoms at all and were not tested. But now we have more testing available so we can test more people to get a sense of the numbers that really had COVID-19. This survey in Santa Clara Country tested immune system antibodies to the virus which tells us if people had been infected at some point even if they had no symptoms. The larger the number of people who had the infection but went unnoticed, the lower the death rate may be.
There are some biases in the survey which needs to be considered.
Even if this virus is less deadly than we once thought, we still need to be diligent in taking precautions to avoid spread of the virus and follow “shelter-in-place” orders until we hear otherwise. Overall there are more than 30,000 COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. so it’s hard to find good news in that. People are still getting infected and getting sick. We need to hang in there…
More testing will continue to be done and we just need to wait and see how deadly this virus really is.